Services :: Guardianship
What do you do when your loved one cannot care for themselves, either partially or completely? We all want our loved ones to live meaningful lives but sometimes, they may lack the capacity to do so independently. That’s when a discussion about Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship is prudent.
In Texas, a Guardianship is a legal relationship established by a Probate Court of Law that appoints a guardian to care for someone who has become incapacitated and unable to care for themselves. This Guardianship can be for a young person transitioning from being a minor to an adult at age eighteen (18) who is incapacitated due to a disability, an adult who has been in a debilitating accident which has left him or her incapacitated or an elder person who is incapacitated due to something like dementia.
A Guardianship can be full or partial. A full Guardianship takes away all of the rights of a person such as the right to vote in a public election; ability to obtain or hold a driver’s license; the right to own, possess, purchase or use a firearm or ammunition; right to make decisions regarding marriage; right to pick residential placement, right to consent to medical and dental treatment, right to make managerial and financial decisions and enter into contracts, to name a few. A partial Guardianship would be picking and choosing which rights to keep or take away. Guardianship is designed to protect our loved ones from being taken advantaged of in the outside world and to be sure they are cared for and given all the necessary guidance and support to become meaningful individuals in society, as much as possible.
There are different types of Guardianships:
- Guardianship of the Person (full or partial)
- Guardianship of the Estate (full or partial)
- Guardianship of the Person and Estate
- Temporary or Emergency Guardianship
Guardianship of the Person deals with an individual’s rights when that individual does not have any assets. This is usually the case when you have a minor turning eighteen (18) and needs Guardianship.
Guardianship of the Estate is when you have an older person who, due to dementia or just old age, cannot take care of his or her financial and business affairs any longer. It can also occur when you have a minor who has inherited a large estate or sum of money and the court appoints a Guardianship to look after the minor’s assets until they reached the age of majority, age eighteen in Texas.
Guardianship of the Person and Estate can take place with you have an elder person that has become incapacitated with a lot of assets or when you have an adult that may have been in an accident and become incapacitated.
Guardianship is not permanent you can always go back to court and give the rights back to an individual.
Prior to determining if Guardianship is needed, the Alternatives to Guardianship are reviewed to see if they can be used to adequately protect the individual instead of filing for a Guardianship. In many of these Guardianship Alternatives, the individual needs to have the mental capability to understand the legal ramifications of what they are signing. Some alternatives to Guardianship include Supported Decisions Making Agreements, Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, HIPAA Agreement, Management Trust, Joint Bank accounts, Representative Payee, Spousal Capacity and others.
Having been through the Guardianship process ourselves, we understand that this decision is not an easy one. We are prepared to help your family make the most appropriate choice and will compassionately explain all the steps involved. Having personal experience with our own family makes us uniquely suited to guide your family. Contact Boyd Handley at 281.703.3616 or Boyd@TheHandleyLawOffice.com.